What the Book of Mormon Doesn’t contain

7 Sep

Once, a few years back, a man gave the following list of doctrine that he claimed are taught as essential to salvation.  He then asked where they could be found in the Book of Mormon.  This was done as a kind of response to Bruce R. McConkie’s book “Mormon Doctrine” and was part of a larger post.  However, In this article I will only address these points.  I will not address them in the order given, but in the order that I feel is most effective.

Here is the list:

  1. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that Elohim (God the Father in Mormonism) was once a mortal man and that he was not always God?
  2. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that God has a body of flesh and bones?
  3. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that God is married in heaven?
  4. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that men can become Gods?
  5. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that temple participation is necessary to become exalted?
  6. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach Jesus and Lucifer are brothers?
  7. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach the blood of Christ does not cleanse certain sins?
  8. Where in the Book of Mormon does it say there is more than one God?
  9. Where in the Book of Mormon does it say males must hold either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood?
  10. Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that there are “three degrees of glory”?

Here is my response:

6.  Jesus and Lucifer are brothers

This is not an essential doctrine, and is frequently misunderstood.  It is more a supposition based on other doctrine, as I have no recollection of it ever being stated directly.  As such it is not surprising that it is not found in the Book of Mormon, as it is really not found anywhere in the scriptures.

3.  God is married in heaven

The same can be said of this.  While it is generally understood, it is more a supposition based on other doctrine.  We do not need to understand these things in order to attain salvation, but we do have the promise that we will understand them at a later time.

4.  men can become Gods

3 Nephi 28: 10 “And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fullness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one

It states here, very plainly, that we can become as Christ, who is as the Father.  If they are gods, and we can become like them, then we can become gods.

Note also that this verse states that a fullness of joy is to be like our Father, by which we know that Lehi’s statement in 2 Nephi 2: 25 (Adam fell than men might be; and men are, that they might have joy) is also teaching us that we can become gods, for this is a fullness of joy, which is the basic purpose of our existence.

2.  God has a body of flesh and bones

Mosiah 7: 27 “And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth.

Read this carefully.  Christ would take the image of man (flesh and blood) which was created in the image of God.  Clearly the physical nature of man was modeled on the physical nature of God.  Christ would become physical, just like man, who was created physical, just like God.

With this let us reason a little from what we learned on point 4.  It is taught many times in the Book of Mormon that we will be resurrected.  In 2 Nephi 9: 22 it states “And he suffered this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day.”  As we are told in 3 Nephi 28: 10 that we can be like God, and we are also told that we will be resurrected, having our bodies restored to us (2 Nephi 9: 11-12; Alma 40:  21, 23), then it must follow that God has a physical body, for how else could we be like him?

1.  God the Father was once a mortal man and that he was not always God

This is also not essential to salvation.  We can come to understand this at a later date and still be just fine.  However, just to reason things out:  From point 4 and 2 we see that in process of time we can become like God, including having a physical body.  If we can do this, does it not stand to reason that God become like he is by the same process?  So, the doctrine is not taught directly in the Book of Mormon (or any of the standard works), but then it really is not truly needed for our salvation.  However, it can be logically inferred by what is taught in the Book of Mormon, and so anyone can see the truth of it, if they are guided by the Holy Spirit.

8.  there is more than one God

Reasoning what we have seen so far, if we are to be like God, and thus be gods ourselves, then at least sometime in the future there will be many gods.  Since this is true, is it not also logical to say that there is current a plurality of gods in existence.  Since our Father became a god in the same way we are then it is also logical that when he was mortal there were many others who were mortal and progressed to godhood, and thus, again, we see that there are many gods.

More to the point, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all referenced in the Book of Mormon as being separate and distinct beings, and thus it teaches the existence of at least three gods.

7.  the blood of Christ does not cleanse certain sins

Alma 39: 6 “For behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yea, I say unto you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness.)

Right here we are told that there is one sin that nothing can forgive, as it is unpardonable.  So, for at least this sin the blood of Christ cannot cleanse from it.  This verse also mentions how difficult it is to receive a forgiveness for murder, which would indicate that it is not fully within the cleansing power of Christ’s blood.

5.  temple participation is necessary to become exalted

The importance of Temples is plainly taught in the Book of Mormon.  The specifics of them are not given, partly because the record is primarily a history, but mainly because the ordinances of the Temple are sacred and not meant for the world to see.  However, this does not diminish the importance of the Temple, which clearly shows that they are needed for our salvation.  It does not say why they are, but clearly indicates that they are.

For instance, one of the first things Nephi does after he fled from his brethren was to build a temple (2 Nephi 5: 16);  It was in the Temple that Jacob taught the Nephite (Jacob 1: 17; 2: 2);  King Benjamin gathered his people to the Temple to teach them for the last time (Mosiah 1: 18); and after the devastation that followed Christ’s death the people gathered at the Temple (3 Nephi 11: 1) which is where Christ appeared and taught the people.  Temples were obviously a central part of the life of the faithful in the Book of Mormon.

We also know that Temples were not merely meeting places, as the Nephites also built synagogues (3: 14) in which they met.

So, while the Book of Mormon does not tell what happened in the Temple it makes it very clear that they are a necessary part of the gospel and something that the faithful seek.

9.  males must hold either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood

This point is not entirely accurate.  This requirement has only been active at certain times in the history of the world.  At the time of Moses the Aaronic Priesthood was restricted to the tribe of Levi, and the Melchizedek was held by only a few select men who were called to be the prophets and leaders of the church.  As such it was not required for all males.  We are not told what requirements were in place before Moses or after Christ.  In this last dispensation it seems to have been common to ordain the adults, but not as common for the youth until a while later.  Even today it is only at the age of twelve that a young man receives the priesthood.

In the Book of Mormon they had only the Melchizedek Priesthood before Christ, for the simple reason that none of them were Levites.  As they lived the Law of Moses at this time is logical to assume that not all of the men held this priesthood.

Because the requires of holding the priesthood have changed over the years it is not logical to find the requirement of one dispensation written in the records of another.  However, in all dispensations the Power and Authority of the Priesthood is affirmed, and it is made clear that without the priesthood salvation is not possible for anyone.

10.  there are “three degrees of glory”

This one I will grant is not taught in the Book of Mormon (though some of its passages are made clearer when it is understood).  However, I will also say this; as our goal is to return to our Father and to be like him, anything less than this is unacceptable.  And since the Book of Mormon teaches us how to achieve this goal it does not really need to explain what the other possible rewards are.  It is concerned only with the primary goal.  It is like teaching a class and only telling the students what is needed to receive an ‘A’.  It is understood that lesser grade are possible, but you just don’t bother separating them, as the ‘A’ is all that really matters.

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